The InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) program or later called the Prison Fellowship Academy is a faith-based reintegration program with locations in six states. The program begins 18 to 24 months before a person is released from jail and continues for another 12 months after they are freed. According to an independent study of IFI, the program graduates were less likely than non-graduates to be reincarcerated within two years of release, 8% and 36.3% respectively (Prison Fellowship, 2021). Although IFI may be a “revolutionary” correctional experiment, the concept that God can change even the worst of inmates’ lives is not new. For as long as prisons have existed, clergy and religious practitioners have preached such a message to inmates(Prison Fellowship, 2021). Prison Fellowship continues to think that religion is an essential component of rehabilitation and assisting former inmates in leading crime-free life.
The program is successful as it provides full support before and after a release of an individual. These periods are the most vulnerable for an imprisoned person. Therefore, if during such time, a person has strong support from his faith and like-minded people, it is easier for them to adapt and integrate into society again. Moreover, families of prisoners have formed bonds with such faith-based and community organizations contributing to the development of reentry programs. Staff and volunteers at this organization have been particularly successful in building meaningful and enduring relationships with persons who have been released from prisons and jails. These kinds of connections can be powerful motivators for persons to participate in reentry programs, seek continuous support, and stay committed to a life free of crime. As such, it is crucial to develop social ties to spread such programs across the U.S. IFI program can be replicated in other states by having a sufficient amount of funds and interested people. To do so, there is a need for information sessions and training for the existing prions that do not cooperate with faith-based programs.
Treatment models available for youthful offenders across the United States include a variety of policies aimed to promote prosocial behavior like school attendance and participation. Among these policies, I think that behavioral programs, interpersonal skills training, and individual counseling are the most effective ones. This is because such programs have an individual-level approach and consider each case separately. Furthermore, they help teenagers to understand their irregular behavior and find solutions. In addition, parents play a crucial role in building the discipline of young adults; thus, training and counseling with parents should be included in treatment models.
Early-onset offenders are more likely to suffer from multiple mental health issues. However, these minors are frequently not identified until they have had contact with the police or the court. In general, a high percentage of kids with psychiatric disorders do not receive specialized mental health care. Therefore, most treatment models in the U.S. focus on the mental health of teenagers and promote awareness regarding the issue. Moreover, schools encourage academic achievement and limit the danger of antisocial conduct among their students. Federal, state, and local efforts should concentrate on encouraging schools to evaluate their present policies in these areas and to implement strategies, programs, and approaches that have been proven to minimize criminal behavior. More resources should be available to provide schools with methods and programs that will assist them in effectively educating and socializing children to sufficiently avoid juvenile offending.
Prison Fellowship. (2021). Prison Fellowship Academy – A Proven Solution for Transforming Prisoners.